Waterworks Museum

Waterworks Museum Architecture, Engineering, Public Health, Social History - it's all here at the Waterworks Museum!
The Waterworks Museum interprets unique stories of one of the country's first metropolitan water systems through exhibitions and educational programs on engineering, architecture, social history and public health.
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Ever wonder where your water comes from? Before you say “from the tap,” think again. It had to get to the tap from somewhere. But where? And how? That’s where we come in. The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum is located in the Chestnut Hill High Pumping Station on the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. The original station was built in 1887, and added on to in 1897. The three pumping engines housed within the museum operated every day until the late 1970s, when Boston's primary water supply became the Quabbin Reservoir. A unique intersection of architecture, engineering, public health, and social history, the Waterworks Museum is a hidden gem of the Boston museum community, interpreting the stories of one of the first metropolitan water systems in the United States.

#factfriday During the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir many aqueducts had to be excavated. This was the job for ...
02/07/2020

#factfriday
During the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir many aqueducts had to be excavated. This was the job for many Italian Immigrants and African American migrants from Virginia.

Unfortunately, tunneling work on the aqueduct was the most hazardous aspect of the project because of the use of dynamite to blast through bedrock.
In September 1896, in an aqueduct similar to this one, three African-American laborers and their Irish foreman were killed in an explosion. There were several more fatalities and many injuries during construction.

Since the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir there have been many laws and regulations put into place for laborers to help prevent future injuries and fatalities.
#metrowaterworks

#tbt The top photo of the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station was taken in 1898. The photo below is of the Waterworks Museum t...
02/06/2020

#tbt
The top photo of the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station was taken in 1898. The photo below is of the Waterworks Museum today. Not too much has changed since the first picture was taken, but do you notice any differences?
#metrowaterworks

#waterworkswednesdays Are you looking for something fun and unique to do with the family over February vacation? The Wat...
02/05/2020

#waterworkswednesdays
Are you looking for something fun and unique to do with the family over February vacation? The Waterworks Museum is here to help! Join us at the Waterworks for "Winter in the 1800's," a free and family-friendly event!

Have you ever wondered what harsh New England winters might have been like back in the 1800's, the same era our pumping station was built in? Join us Friday, February 21st from 11am-3pm during February School Vacation Week to try out a variety of everyday winter activities from the past!
#metrowaterworks

#funfactfriday Our most popular and well-known steam engines are the Leavitt and the Allis. But let’s not forget our you...
01/31/2020

#funfactfriday
Our most popular and well-known steam engines are the Leavitt and the Allis. But let’s not forget our youngest and smallest friend the Worthington! The Worthington-Snow Compound Engine started running in 1921 and pumped out 15 million gallons of water a day. Now this might not seem like a lot compared to the Allis engine that pumped out 30 million gallons of water a day, but the Worthington was known more for its efficiency. This efficiency was due to the Worthington’s Corliss Wrist Plates. The second and third image below shows the plates. The plate in the middle would rock back and forth, opening and closing the intake and exhaust valves at each corner of the steam chest. The opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves helped controlled the flow of steam to and from the piston.

If you want to see what this looks like in action, we have actual footage from 1973, taken by Al Arena, one of the last engineers who worked at this pumping station.
#metrowaterworks

#waterworkswednesdayOur next book group meets on Wednesday, February 5th at 10am! The book group will be talking about "...
01/29/2020

#waterworkswednesday
Our next book group meets on Wednesday, February 5th at 10am! The book group will be talking about "The Belles of New England" by William Moran. Do not worry if you have not read the book, as you can still come and learn about Boston history! Can’t make it to February’s book group? Don’t fret! The next one meets Wednesday, March 4th. The book that will be discussed is "Boston’s Immigrants: 1840-1925" by Michael Price and Anthony Sammarco.

#metrowaterworks

Two  weeks ago we talked about why the Chestnut Hill Reservoir water level was low. However, did you also notice a circu...
01/28/2020

Two weeks ago we talked about why the Chestnut Hill Reservoir water level was low. However, did you also notice a circular opening that was exposed in the reservoir near Boston College? We were curious ourselves, so we contacted our friends over at the MWRA. They informed us that this opening (now closed) is the bell mouth outlet from Sudbury Aqueduct Terminal Chamber. This aqueduct once transferred water from the Lawrence Basin (now Boston College Field House) to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir!

The map is courtesy of MWRA

Boston Water and Sewer Commission

#metrowaterworks

Having some fun with the #dollypartonchallenge !😆#metrowaterworksCharles River Museum of Industry & Innovation can't wai...
01/27/2020

Having some fun with the #dollypartonchallenge !😆
#metrowaterworks

Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation can't wait to what you come up with!

Over the weekend The Waterworks Museum held our second annual Volunteer and Staff Winter Party. There was great food and...
01/27/2020

Over the weekend The Waterworks Museum held our second annual Volunteer and Staff Winter Party. There was great food and Flywheel of Fortune! Also, there were awards given out to recognize the hard work of some of the Volunteers! Great job team!
If you are interested in joining our awesome Volunteer team head over to our website for more information https://waterworksmuseum.org/support/volunteer/

#metrowaterworks

#funfactfriday  This small but profound building was home to the first laboratory in the country to regularly monitor a ...
01/24/2020

#funfactfriday
This small but profound building was home to the first laboratory in the country to regularly monitor a city’s water supply. The Chestnut Hill Biological Laboratory was established in 1889 by the pumping station’s first Superintendent, Desmond Fitzgerald. The Director of the lab, George Whipple, was a young biologist who dedicated his life to public health and the pursuit of safer drinking water. Much of Whipple’s work is still being used today!

Thanks Whipple!

The building no longer stands but you can see the Waterworks Museum behind it in this picture. Would you be able to spot where the lab use to be located on Beacon Street?
#metrowaterworks

#waterworkswednesday Do you love history? Engineering? Architecture? Public Health? Or just love teaching? Look no furth...
01/22/2020

#waterworkswednesday
Do you love history? Engineering? Architecture? Public Health? Or just love teaching? Look no further because the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum is seeking volunteers to join our enthusiastic team!

Volunteers play an essential role in explaining the history of how Boston developed one of the country’s first municipal water systems.

Our volunteers assist with education programs, facilitating tours of the museum and helping with events.

If you are interested, please click the link below and fill out the Volunteer signup sheet,and our Volunteer Coordinator will get in touch with you for more information!
https://waterworksmuseum.org/support/volunteer/

#metrowaterworks

Another lovely day at the Waterworks - despite the snow, it's sunny and (relatively) warm outside! We're open our regula...
01/19/2020

Another lovely day at the Waterworks - despite the snow, it's sunny and (relatively) warm outside! We're open our regular hours today, 11am to 4pm, so come join us and our steam engines at Chestnut Hill!

#metrowaterworks

#funfactfriday -Above the flywheel on the Allis engine you can see this interesting looking contraption. Can you find it...
01/17/2020

#funfactfriday -Above the flywheel on the Allis engine you can see this interesting looking contraption. Can you find it in the second picture? This is called the Flyball Governor.

The name is very fitting because it’s in charge of governing the speed of the engine, making sure it doesn’t go too fast or too slow. The more steam pressure that enters the machine, the more quickly the balls on the governor will spin. As the governor spins and the balls fly outward, valves are uncovered that release steam and slow the engine back down. As the steam pressure lessens, the balls drop back down, covering the valves and allowing speed to build back up again. All our engines have a governor: it’s basically a steam engine’s “cruise control” but it would maintain a speed range instead of specific speed.

The governor is fairly small compared to the size of the engine, but its job is very big!

#metrowaterworks @ Waterworks Museum

While walking around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and enjoying the beautiful weather last weekend, did you notice somethi...
01/16/2020

While walking around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and enjoying the beautiful weather last weekend, did you notice something different about the reservoir?

You might have noticed how low the water level was!

Every winter, the MWRA performs a 10-foot drawdown to control naturally invasive plants. This prevents algae and vegetation from growing and contaminating the water. It is also important for UV rays from the sun to be able to penetrate the water to help with the disinfection process.

#metrowaterworks
@ Waterworks Museum

#waterworkswednesday Our first school groups of 2020 start next week! We offer hands-on curriculum-based programming rel...
01/15/2020

#waterworkswednesday
Our first school groups of 2020 start next week! We offer hands-on curriculum-based programming related to STEM concepts, urban and Industrial history, water treatment and conservation strategies for preschool ages to the university level.The museum Education Programs are created and run by our Education Manager, Tracy Lindboe! If you are a teacher or know a teacher who is interested in learning more about our Education Program, please visit our website https://waterworksmuseum.org/education/.
Let the fun begin!!
#metrowaterworks

#funfactFriday When Arthur Vinal completed this Richardsonian Romanesque building in 1888, he was the City Architect for...
01/10/2020

#funfactFriday
When Arthur Vinal completed this Richardsonian Romanesque building in 1888, he was the City Architect for Boston. Did you know that Vinal left a little piece of his legacy on our building? When you visit the museum make sure to check out the High Service Pumping Station Tower, at the top you might see the sculpture of his face. He even made sure to add his other half, his wife Ada.

Can you spot the sculptures?

I will give you a hint! The second picture shows which side of the building they will be on.
@ Waterworks Museum
#metrowaterworks

#waterworkswednesdays Did you know that the Waterworks Museum hosts a book club the first Wednesday of every month? Toda...
01/08/2020

#waterworkswednesdays

Did you know that the Waterworks Museum hosts a book club the first Wednesday of every month? Today the book club met to discuss "A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century" by author Witold Rybczynski. Next month the book club meets on February 5th at 10:00 am. no admission fee or advanced registration required. The book they will be discussing is "The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove" by William Moran. Don’t worry if you have not read the selected book you are invited to join the group and engage in lively conversation about Boston history. If you are interested and want to learn more, please view our calendar on our website at https://waterworksmuseum.org/
#metrowaterworks

#funfactfriday: while exploring our temporary exhibit "Workers of Wachusett," visitors can meet the many men who helped ...
01/03/2020

#funfactfriday: while exploring our temporary exhibit "Workers of Wachusett," visitors can meet the many men who helped create the reservoir. One man pictured here is John Mercer. This gentleman was credited for laying the dam’s first and last stones. Building the reservoir was a long and difficult process which took a toll on the workers. Can you see evidence of this in John Mercer?

The left is John Mercer in 1901 laying the first stone.

The right is John Mercer in 1905 laying the last stone.

#metrowaterworks

In celebration of the holidays, the Waterworks Museum will be CLOSED on 12/25 and 12/26. We look forward to seeing you f...
12/23/2019

In celebration of the holidays, the Waterworks Museum will be CLOSED on 12/25 and 12/26. We look forward to seeing you for Candy Engineering when we reopen on Friday 12/27! #HappyHolidays #Metrowaterworks

Happy Halloween! Stop by today for a Tour or Treat from 11am - 4pm! These photos are from our recent Halloween themed Vo...
10/31/2019

Happy Halloween! Stop by today for a Tour or Treat from 11am - 4pm!

These photos are from our recent Halloween themed Volunteer appreciation party! The Great Engines Hall was all decked out! #Spooky #Halloween #TourOrTreat #metrowaterworks

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, Saturday 10/26 between 11am and 4pm for a spooktacular time at our Not-So-Creepy Crawl...
10/25/2019

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, Saturday 10/26 between 11am and 4pm for a spooktacular time at our Not-So-Creepy Crawlies event! We'll have fun activities celebrating the microscopic monsters living in our water! Candy and Treats for all participants! We can't wait to see you there! #Halloween #NotSoCreepy #MetroWaterworks

10/19/2019

TODAY (Sat. 10/19) the Waterworks Museum will be closing at 3:00 p.m. (instead of 4:00) to accommodate a wedding ceremony taking place here in the museum! We apologize for any inconvenience, and we will be back to our normal schedule tomorrow (Sun. 10/20).

10/12/2019

The Waterworks Museum will be closing a little earlier than usual today (Sat. 10/12): we are closing at 3:00 p.m. (instead of 4:00) to accommodate a wedding ceremony taking place here in the museum! We hope it is not very inconvenient for anyone, and we will be back to our normal schedule tomorrow (Sun. 10/13).

If you like our current exhibit about the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir, be sure to head to out to Wachusett D...
10/09/2019
Wachusett Dam walkway open to the public Oct. 13, offering views of Massachusetts’ 2nd largest body of water

If you like our current exhibit about the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir, be sure to head to out to Wachusett Dam in Clinton this Sunday for a rare treat! On October 13, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation will be opening the walkway across the dam to public visitors from 10am - 1pm. #Wachusett #Metrowaterworks

https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/09/wachusett-dam-walkway-open-to-the-public-oct-13-offering-views-of-massachusetts-2nd-largest-body-of-water.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=worcester_sf&fbclid=IwAR3Y_FSS3rH1gS-IaWalntWz8FwSNgxSszcB7-oEEThnjEIXSz1kCEFs8MY

The Wachusett Dam walkway will be open to the public on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets for our first ever Special Access Tour! Our Tour of the Leavitt is now SOLD ...
09/19/2019

Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets for our first ever Special Access Tour! Our Tour of the Leavitt is now SOLD OUT but keep your eyes peeled for our next Special Access Tour of the Allis - tickets will go on sale later next month. #SpecialAccessTour #Metrowaterworks

As the summer draws to a close, we want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated in our community events ove...
08/26/2019

As the summer draws to a close, we want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated in our community events over the summer! And if you loved our Preschoolers at the Waterworks series or the stations at Waterfest, keep an eye on this page for more events coming this Fall! #NewTours #NewPrograms #metrowaterworks

Only 2 more days until Waterfest! Join us Saturday 8/17 from 11am-3pm for games, crafts, demonstrations, and exclusive e...
08/15/2019

Only 2 more days until Waterfest! Join us Saturday 8/17 from 11am-3pm for games, crafts, demonstrations, and exclusive experiences as we celebrate water and its champions in honor of #WorldHumanitarianDay.

The first 150 people to check in at the Information Desk will receive a free Waterworks Museum Magnet! We can't wait to see everyone there! #Waterfest #Free #Family #Fun #metrowaterworks

Only one week to go until Waterfest next Saturday 8/17! In addition to all kinds of great games, crafts, and activities ...
08/09/2019

Only one week to go until Waterfest next Saturday 8/17! In addition to all kinds of great games, crafts, and activities for families, we will also have a number of exclusive access experiences for visitors of all ages and interests!

Waterfest will be one of only a few times during the year that the Allis Pumps in the Basement will be open for Tours! We will also be lending out our Water Testing Kits for a guided experience testing a nearby stream. Make sure to drop by between 11am - 3pm next Saturday!

#Waterfest #Tours #Free #Family #Fun #AllAges #metrowaterworks

Tomorrow, 8/8 at 10:15am will be our last Preschoolers at the Waterworks Session for the Summer! We'll be meeting,  rain...
08/07/2019

Tomorrow, 8/8 at 10:15am will be our last Preschoolers at the Waterworks Session for the Summer! We'll be meeting, rain or shine, to talk about some of the animals that call the reservoir home. If safety permits, we may venture out on our scavenger hunt in light rains so come prepared! Otherwise, we will be busy learning and crafting in the Great Engines Hall. Can't wait to see everyone there! #STEM #Preschoolers #Free #Fun #Animals #RainyDay #Metrowaterworks

Only two more weeks until our biggest event of the year - Waterfest! Join us on August 17th from 11am - 3pm for games, c...
08/03/2019

Only two more weeks until our biggest event of the year - Waterfest! Join us on August 17th from 11am - 3pm for games, crafts, demonstrations, special tours, water testing, and more! See our full list of offerings below. We look forward to seeing you there! #Waterfest #Summer #Free #Family #Fun #Water #SocialGood #Activism #metrowaterworks

Last Thursday, our Preschool aged visitors had a great time cleaning up our pretend ponds for the fish! Tomorrow morning...
07/31/2019

Last Thursday, our Preschool aged visitors had a great time cleaning up our pretend ponds for the fish! Tomorrow morning, 8/1, we will be turning our attention to the simple machines all around the great engines hall - and making some machines of our own! #STEM #Preschool #Free #Fun #metrowaterworks

Preschoolers! Join us once again tomorrow morning (7/25) at 10:15am! This week we'll be learning about how we can fight ...
07/24/2019

Preschoolers! Join us once again tomorrow morning (7/25) at 10:15am! This week we'll be learning about how we can fight water pollution by reading "Not for me, please! I choose to act green" and by recycling and throwing away litter from a practice pond. Then, we'll be making happy fish to swim in our newly cleaned water! #Preschool #STEAM #Free #Fun #Metrowaterworks

Last week, we had a blast learning about the Water Cycle and the Waterworks at our Preschoolers at the Waterworks sessio...
07/17/2019

Last week, we had a blast learning about the Water Cycle and the Waterworks at our Preschoolers at the Waterworks session! Tomorrow, 7/18 at 10:15, we'll be learning about all the different ways we can work to save water! Hope to see you there! #Preschoolers #Water #STEM #Free #Fun

We're back tomorrow morning (7/11) with our next Preschoolers at the Waterworks Session! This week we'll be learning all...
07/10/2019

We're back tomorrow morning (7/11) with our next Preschoolers at the Waterworks Session! This week we'll be learning all about the raindrop's journey from the sky, through the waterworks and back again! Our Waterworks Jungle Gym is not to be missed! The program starts at 10:15am - hope to see you there! #Preschoolers #STEM #Water #Free #Fun #metrowaterworks

The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum will be closing one hour earlier than normal on Saturday, July 6, 2019. The museum wi...
07/05/2019

The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum will be closing one hour earlier than normal on Saturday, July 6, 2019. The museum will be closed to the public starting at 3:00pm, rather than our usual time of 4:00pm, in order to accommodate a private event. We apologize for the inconvenience, and appreciate the understanding of visitors this Saturday.

Thanks to all the folks who came out to learn about the 3 states of matter at our Preschool program yesterday! We made s...
06/28/2019

Thanks to all the folks who came out to learn about the 3 states of matter at our Preschool program yesterday! We made some great ice paintings!

Just a quick reminder that there will be NO session on July 4th, as the museum will be closed in celebration of Independence Day.

The Preschoolers at the Waterworks program will be back on 7/11 at 10:15 am where we'll learn about how water gets to our homes! #Preschoolers #STEM #Free #Fun #metrowaterworks

Address

2450 Beacon St
Boston, MA
02467

General information

Museum Spring Hours: Wed: 11am-8:30pm Thur-Sun: 11am-4pm

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(617) 277-0065

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Comments

What a terrific place!! If you have not visited yet, put this on your calendar. Talk about huge! Very impressive what was going on here and what has been preserved. Knowledgeable staff, well curated. Even non-engineer folks have to be impressed. Great history lesson for adults. Even little kids will love this place---there are wrenches here bigger than they are! We'll be back and will bring our visitors as well.
Thank Again Waterworks Museum - Happy Halloween! Photography: designsHOBBYphotography.com
Is there a preschool waterworks event tomorrow on the holiday? Or there's a week off? We would definitely come tomorrow if there is one!
Hello! I lost a Toyota car key @ the Waterworks Museum on Thursday 2/21. The car was parked in the back parking lot, and was lost somewhere in the lot/during the walk to the museum entrance in the front, or inside of the museum. If anybody has come across this key, please text or call 508-243-0085. Apparently the cost of replacing a car key (only 1 we had) is an arm and a leg more expensive than initially expected!
FYI
Really, an extraordinary museum to visit.
FYI